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Rock Island leaders renew efforts to market the Watchtower Plaza Site

ROCK ISLAND - Dean Croegaert has seen the 11th street area in Rock Island change quite a bit, his business 'Croegaert's Great Outdoors' has been in the area for 26 years.

He was excited when Walmart announced it would be moving into the old Watchtower Plaza Site, until they backed out in September of 2016.

"We were definitely excited, we were looking for the increase in traffic, which of course would generate business for us," said Croegaert.

The city of Rock Island had been planning for Walmart since 2012 and had spent $15 million to get the land ready for building.

Rock Island's economic development director says the city is taking a renewed effort to market the 23 acre site.

"We have 23 acres, prime area of Rock Island, a major thoroughfare on 11th street and now we're starting to take it out to the brokerage community," said Chandler Poole, Community Economic Development Director.

Later this month,city officials will head to Chicago to market the site at the International Council for Shopping Centers and have had interest from companies wanting to know more about the space.

"It's shovel ready, all utilities are to the boundaries of the site, it's level and now all we really need to do is get a development plan," said Poole.

The city is optimistic that another retailer will come along.

"Were starting to give a big push for marketing this site because this is a great opportunity for somebody," said Poole.

The city hopes to have a development plan in place by 2018.